Board of Forestry Subcommittee August 12: Eye Openers

The Board of Forestry subcommittee that is exploring new management plans for the Tillamook & Clatsop state forests met on August 12th. While the subcommittee did not make any big decisions, there were still some alarming outcomes worth noting.

The Subcommittee is charged with exploring alternative plans that would bring about improved financial viability for the Department of Forestry AND improved conservation on the forests. It would seem that this can only be achieved if there is a favorable comparison with the current plan. However, subcommittee member Mike Rose indicated that he is not concerned with comparing an alternative plan with the existing plan to determine if either is better for conservation or revenue. He is already focused on an approach in which 70% of the forest is managed like an industrial forest, including short-rotation clearcutting and intensive pesticide spraying.

Clatsop County and Washington County have both spoken up for conservation areas as an integral part of a balanced forest management plan. However, the voice of the counties is being directed almost uniformly towards a more industrial approach to forestry. Speaking on behalf of all 15 trust land counties (including Washington County, Clatsop County, Tillamook County, Columbia County, and Benton County), Tillamook County Commissioner Tim Josi objected to protecting old growth forests. He also advocated for private industrial style stream buffers and drastic increases in clearcutting.

If Tim Josi is not representing you, tell your county commissioners!

Perhaps of most concern is the continued lack of conservation improvement concepts. Department staff brought forward another framework that shows decreases in conservation acreage rather than an increase compared to the current plan. This framework included significant loss of High Value Conservation Areas.

Board

A new voice added to the discussion as north coast resident, Tom Bender brought forward concepts of long-rotation forestry to the Subcommittee.

The Wilson River Corridor – A Little Something for Everyone

Oregon’s renowned public lands offer Oregonians a unique and special lifestyle and provide our state with a  natural legacy–picturesque beauty, diverse wildlife, wild rivers, snow-capped mountains, lush forests–that is the envy of many. Public lands are one of the defining aspects of this great state, and iconic national forests and parks are often the go-to for Oregonians mentioning their favorite getaways.

What about our state-owned jewels in north west Oregon? The Tillamook and Clatsop state forests are not on the cover of Oregon travel and destination magazines or profiled by national media, but these forests–logged, burned and now recovering–may be Oregon’s best place to offer a little something for everyone. A trip down Highway 6 illustrates why…

Wilson River Corridor 280Just past milepost 35 (a 30 minute drive from Hillsboro) is beautiful Gales Creek. This tributary of the Tualatin River offers a great spot for the family to camp, play in the creek, and explore the nearby douglas fir forest.

Wilson River Corridor 405Two miles down the road (milepost 33) is the southern turnoff to University Falls Trail. A short walk will take a photographer and plenty of gear to a curtain-like falls that captures light beautifully and pours into a bundle of downed logs and beautiful pools.

Biking

 

Near milepost 28 is Elk Creek Trailhead and Campground. Options here are abundant: splash around in the Wilson River, find a cool spot and set up the hamock, or start the long haul up the Kings-Elk Mountain traverse. A safe bet is hopping on the mountain bike and heading down the awesome Wilson River Trail.

DSCN6838Three miles down the highway or the trail is the Kings Mountain Trailhead. This iconic coast range hike is a quad killer–the trail climbs 2,546 feet in just 2.5 miles. From the summit (3,226 feet) one can see the Pacific Ocean and Mount Hood.  Spectacular!

At milepost 23 the whole family can take a break from the heat and find the Jones Creek Campground. This very accessible spot features just about anything you’d want on a hot summer day. The feature is deep swimming holes, warm basking rocks rocks, and sandy beaches.

Wilson River Corridor 495

The Footbridge Trailhead at milepost 20 (and along the Wilson River Trail) is the beginning of some great spots for fishing. Though the water will be low during summer months, a patient angler can pursue cutthroat trout or hatchery summer steelhead, though catch-and-release fishing can stress out native fish in low water.

The Wilson River Corridor (and all of Oregon’s state forests) are worthy of long term conservation considerations and we have identified two great proposals along this awesome corridor: the Kilchis & Wilson Rivers Conservation Area and the Kings Mountain Recreation & Conservation Area.

Click here to support these proposals!

Spend some time in these spots this summer. Find some peace and relaxation. Share pictures and help tell the story: #WilsonRiverFun #ORStateForests. Check back frequently, this is just a taste and we’ll be exploring these spots (and others) more in upcoming posts.

On September 5th, join us on the Wilson River for a celebration of these lands. 

Protect Critical Old Growth in the Clatsop State Forest

The “Homesteader” timber sale in the Clatsop state forest calls for the clearcutting of some of the best old growth forest habitat remaining on Oregon’s north coast. The sale features trees over 130 years old and over 200 feet high–relative monsters in a region that has been logged and burned over.

Click here to ask the Department of Forestry to cancel or amend this sale and conserve this amazing parcel!

Click here to read the full Homesteader Report.

Coring 2 DBH Measuring Mossy Branches

HB 3210 is Dead!

HB 3210, which would have seen our state forest lands clearcut at much higher levels, is no longer. The bill was supported by timber industry lobbyists and Tillamook County Commissioner Tim Josi, but Rep. Brad Witt, Chair of the House Committee on Agriculture & Natural Resources heard from hundreds of Oregonians to reject the bill and keep balance on our forests. Rumor has it that Chair Witt’s phone was ringing off the hook. Congratulations and thanks to all who contacted Chair Witt!

The Department of Forestry opposed the bill. Check out this recent article in the Oregonian, for a look at the relationship between big timber and the legislature.

Photo by Francis Eatherington
Photo by Francis Eatherington

Bills like HB 3210 rear their heads in nearly every Oregon legislative session, but they normally don’t go as far as this one did. We need to hold our lawmakers accountable for pushing unbalanced forest agendas that sacrifice future benefit for short-term dollars.

Clearcut Proposal Rejected – Areas of Agreement Sought

Last month, the Board of Forestry refused to endorse a proposal that would have seen drastic increases in clearcutting across the landscape. Our supporters drove hundreds and hundreds of thoughtful, personalized comments to Governor Brown asking her to reject this plan. Thank you for your support—we were heard loud and clear!

The search for a new Forest Management Plan continues as the Board instructed Department of Forestry staff to engage in shuttle diplomacy with stakeholder groups in an attempt to find areas of agreement among the timber industry, county interests, and the conservation community.

The Board Subcommittee in charge of a new plan meets on April 8th with a lot of work to do. Tasked with improving conservation and stabilizing ODF’s funding, it is becoming more evident that the Board needs to seek alternative revenue streams rather than continuing to rely solely on logging to manage these public lands.

Skyhawk

Seeking balance for the Tillamook and Clatsop State Forests–clean drinking water, healthy fish & wildlife habitat, and abundant recreation opportunities